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Human Rights Observatory
Police in Kazakhstan Shut Down News Conference
Friday, April 29, 2016
Authorities in Almaty, Kazakhstan shut down a news conference Friday called by activists who were discussing plans for protests in the city against land reforms. Police detained about a dozen activists outside Almaty's Press Club. The incident follows protests across the country against government plans to privatize farmland beginning on July 1, 2016. Although public protests are rare in Kazakhstan, hundreds have rallied in several cities since Sunday (April 24), out of fear... (Full Story)
Marine General Picked to Lead US Africa Command
Friday, April 29, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Marine Corps Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser to lead AFRICOM, the U.S. military's Africa Command. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called Waldhauser the "perfect pick" to lead AFRICOM. In a statement, Carter cited Waldhauser's leadership, management skills and military experience. In 2001, Waldhauser led some of the first U.S. forces into Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. If confirmed by the Senate,... (Full Story)
Italy Struggles to House Migrants in Third Year of Mass Arrivals
Friday, April 29, 2016
When police arrested Lamin Darboe's father two years ago, the 16-year-old had to quit his studies and work on his uncle's farm in Gambia. Desperate to go back to school, he stole his uncle's bull to pay his way to Europe. "I sold his bull... before he found out, I was gone," said Darboe, who still does not know how his father fell foul of the law. "I want to have a future, and become someone responsible in the future," he said at an old villa in the... (Full Story)
Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash
Friday, April 29, 2016
Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report. (Full Story)
State Media: Bouteflika Returns From Medical Trip Abroad
Friday, April 29, 2016
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 79, has returned to Algiers after a brief visit to Geneva for medical checkups, his latest since a stroke three years ago that has mostly kept him out of the public view. "The president of the republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, returned to the country on Friday," the presidency said in a statement on APS state news agency. Bouteflika, who has governed the North African OPEC state for more than 15 years, left a week ago for... (Full Story)
Exxon's 1Q Profit Plunges 63 Percent on Lower Oil Prices
Friday, April 29, 2016
Exxon Mobil produced its weakest quarter in more than 16 years as lower oil prices pushed its profit down by 63 percent. Revenue tumbled 28 percent, and the oil giant lost money in its vaunted exploration and production business despite a 2 percent increase in production. It made more money, however, in chemicals.   Exxon continued to slash capital spending to cope with lower prices, which this week cost the company the perfect AAA credit rating that it had held for more than six... (Full Story)
Helmet-cam Footage Shows IS in Battlefield Chaos
Friday, April 29, 2016
Islamic State may exult in online portrayals of jihadis sweeping victoriously across Iraqi battlefields, but a camera recovered from the helmet of a dead fighter offers a contrasting picture of chaos and panic in a battle with Kurdish peshmerga. A fighter named Abu Hajer is shown in footage seized by peshmerga firing from one of three Islamic State armored cars advancing across a barren plain toward a Kurdish position. His rifle slips and he fires off a shot inside the... (Full Story)
Pentagon Disciplines 16, Says Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime
Friday, April 29, 2016
The U.S. military has disciplined 16 service members for their role in a deadly air strike in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people and destroyed a hospital run by the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, and it has concluded the incident was not a war crime. General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Friday at the Pentagon that an investigation into the incident found the tragedy was a result of an “extraordinarily intense... (Full Story)
Obama Reports Progress on Rules to Deter Gun Violence
Friday, April 29, 2016
President Barack Obama has announced measures intended to help reduce gun violence in the United States, by using technology to develop "smart guns" and more coordinated action by governments to improve background checks on gun buyers. A White House statement Friday said there has been "important progress" in implementing proposals that Obama announced earlier this year. The president called for more accurate and efficient background checks - to ensure that guns are... (Full Story)
In Malawi, people with albinism face ‘total extinction’– UN rights expert
Friday, April 29, 2016
A United Nations human rights expert today warned that the atrocities faced by persons with albinism in Malawi render them “an endangered people group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done.” (Full Story)
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